The international cover of Bloomberg Business Week in a January issue featured the story on profits from refugees while the domestic cover was Bernie Sanders and his interview on income inequality with signature line “the rich are screwing you.” He suggested that Americans should learn from the Scandinavian countries particularly when it comes to government programs that assist those in need.
Ironically the refugee gold rush story was about Hero Norway whose founder is a millionaire who profits on the refugee crisis. A member of the think tank closely aligned with Norway’s Labor Party said, “We need Hero (Norway), it’s totally illogical to say they can’t make profits.”
So much is going on around the world these days, Hillary Clinton’s razor thin victory over Bernie Sanders in Iowa caucus alarmed me of millennial power in election or politics for better or worse may be around the world, not just Taiwan, Hong Kong or Arab Spring. The impact of the American election is no longer just on Americans, it is crucial to everyone in Taiwan and around the world as well.
We have not quite gathered ourselves from the aftermath of our own election dominated by millennial votes but new commotions of American concerns and presence in South China Seas are adding to conflicts and anxieties over market rallies, chaos and uncertainties. Who the next American president is or a slight tilt in inappropriate move of any party concerned in the region may have major consequences on global economy and peace.
A Taiwanese film director was stabbed in China, he took off his jacket to cover a homeless man sleeping in a T shirt on the street when the last cold front hit the region. The last I heard he was still struggling for his life in the ICU while family and Taiwanese expatriates in China were fund raising to cover the prohibitive medical expenses. The volunteer attacked by a refugee in Sweden and the sexual assaults in Germany were all unacceptable violence towards compassion and kindness. But it is not about ethnicity, culture or migrants but human nature and conditioning from past experiences; unfortunately it can happen to anyone and anywhere for any reason we just cannot understand.
Many around me lost their loved ones recently, parents or spouses. An eighty something widow complains about an Indonesian caregiver who just arrived in Taiwan on the day of her husband’s passing. They have been struggling over language barrier, culture and even meat for the past months. The Indonesian is Muslim and pork is a taboo but the elderly is used to pork in her diet. One is going through cultural shock while the other grief. I have been at a loss in trying to help out of good will.
I am a lame duck amidst global or local,financial or daily living, personal or others’ losses and can only seek solace with Nobel Laureate Gao Xian Jian’s “One Man’s Bible” when nothing works or I don’t know what to do any more. “We are not saviors, we can only save ourselves.” But maybe we can’t even save ourselves.
“Right may not be right, being so may not be being so…..
Forget the years(our time in life). Forget justice (obligation or benevolence).
invigorate and dwell in the boundless.” Chuang Tzu.
A free and easy bird rising above all in the boundless sky sure beats a lame duck when monkeys jump around. Even if we can chase them away, other monkeys keep popping up.
With the Year of Monkey (Chinese New Year) coming up in a couple of days, there will be more monkeys ahead.